Social media of any sort is normally shun upon by management, and often selectively blocked by IT departments. But in this day and age of high demand in social media marketing skills, do they have their place in the corporate office?
Social Media Then And Now
Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Snapchat, etc., it is almost impossible to find a regular Joe (or Jane) who accesses the internet regularly, and still don’t have at least one account with any of the host of social media available out there.
What started out purely for social networking, the majority of the platforms out there are now slowly expanding into commercialisation of one type or another. From targeted advertising posts on Facebook to selling air-time for video advertisement on YouTube, every social media platform now sells advertising media of one type or another.
In the old world of the newspaper industry, the bigger its circulation, the more attractive the title it is to advertisers. Likewise, the more registered users a social media platform has, the more attractive the platform it is to advertisers too.
Today, social media advertising is a multi-million dollars industry on its own. But since it has no commercial value to its end-users other than being the audience for the advertising, many corporate offices the world over are actively blocking their access on the office network. Are they actually promoting efficiency of their employees by blocking them?… No, not really.
So What’s In It For Me?
Like it or not, every commercial business is in the business of whatever it is that they are doing for a profit (except for the occasional non-profit organisation). Therefore, any activity that doesn’t help to generate income is not encouraged. More so if that particular activity takes up a lot of time of their employees, like the occasional checking for updates on their Facebook profiles, or twitting their selfies.
With that in mind, it is not surprising that many corporate offices actively block selective access to these sites. No access to social media during working hours means higher productivity for the employees, right?… Well, it’s only right to a certain extent.
Let Us Examine The Facts
Fact 1 – Employees will access social media regardless whether they are blocked by their office network or not. Smart phones usually come with their individual data plans anyway.
Fact 2 – The number of registered users for any given platform will continue to grow, and traffic will increase exponentially as the number of the users rise.
Fact 3 – It is still the fastest and the most effective method to spread information.
With these facts in mind, it is safe to assume that not only are they here to stay, they will also continue to grow in number of users, and in its reach too. So the question that begs to be answered is – Is it a bad thing?
Interestingly enough, the facts that make social media what it is can also make it an effective branding, advertising and marketing tool for just about anybody.
Hitching A Ride On The Social Media Bandwagon
“If You Can’t Beat Them, Then Join Them.”
The qualities that make social media such a great platform for information dissemination actually works both ways. Just as much as it works by providing a large circulation for paid advertising, it also works for spreading information as an indirect form of advertising too.
Any organisation can actually set up a corporate account (no different from a personal account), and hitch a ride on its wide reach and ready audience too. Just beware that a corporate social media account has to maintain its credibility by maintaining an anchor, usually in the form of a corporate website.
Maintaining a regularly updated corporate website is all nice and dandy, giving any company its web presence as well as its home in cyberspace. But having a corporate website with little or no traffic is as good as not having one at all. One of the most effective way to channel traffic to the corporate website is to actually make use of its social media account to “announce” updates on the corporate website, and then add a little link to “guide” the traffic towards the specific webpage of the update. This is known as the anchor-and-satellite relationship in a corporate branding exercise.
Yes, Social Media Marketing Is An Actual Skill
If you had paid attention to the employment vacancies ads, or the corporate recruiters recently, you might have come across ads looking for people with social media marketing skills. Yes, it is an actual skill set. And many large corporations are actually looking to hire people with this skill to help them sell their brand presence in cyberspace.
So if social media is potentially part of an organisations’ corporate branding, advertising and marketing tool, shouldn’t it also be open to its employees during working hours too?